Schools and community groups will be key in tackling all kinds of violence as part of a new approach in Croydon.

It is hoped that treating violence as a public health issue will reduce problems including knife crime in the borough.

on Monday night (June 3) the council’s cabinet backed plans for a public health approach to violence.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer communities, said: “It goes far beyond the council, whether that is police, health criminal justice system, agencies, but most importantly community organisations.”

She added that the approach will not just focus on serious youth violence and knife crime but include all forms of violence including, domestic abuse, hate crime, modern slavery.

The approach is shared by London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), led by Lib Peck who was at the meeting. 

She said: “Critically it is the cultural shift trying to prove the violence isn’t inevitable, that is a long term aim.”

Shadow cabinet member Councillor Mario Creatura asked what will happen if community representatives and schools do not come forward to be a part of the program.

But Ms Ali said the council has already been working to get schools and other organisations on board and does not think there is a risk nobody will get involved.

Councillor Stuart Collins said: “Crime doesn’t just happen within borough boundaries so I am quite keen to know what you are doing to inspire other councils to take this up.

“But more importantly to make sure that central government takes this issue seriously and that the home office are involved and basically we are working senior officers at the highest possible level to make sure this

“It would be horrible if it worked well for a while in Croydon then petered out because there was not enough money for it or other councils were not doing it.”

He added that the council should lobby to encourage other councils to take up the approach to share problems that come up.

Ms Peck agreed adding: “There has got to be a pan London approach and we have to look at areas rather than focusing on boroughs.”